October 24, 2007
But who are they? Part II
After nearly zero sleep (I was awakened at least a dozen times, and I've yet to master the art of incremental sleeping), I'm not feeling terribly original, nor are my fingers cooperating by creating what my brain cannot. It would be nice if they could, though...
But I found something worth quoting. In a discussion of the realities and the myths of millionaires, Dr. Helen concludes with some great advice for the jealous left, and the government.
...rather than a bunch of "fat cats," most millionaires are just the opposite: people who worked, lived below their means and saved a lot of money. Or as one politician put it, people who "worked hard and played by the rules." All of us could learn from them. Jealous that they have not achieved this level of wealth, now many controlling types of people are scheming to take money from others through high tax rates that penalize the "shy millionaire" as much as the real "fat cats," whatever that means. Instead of scheming like a bunch of thugs, perhaps the government and those that approve of their thuggery should learn to be more like the shy millionaires by spending below their means, saving, and showing some class.That would also be in line with the free economic system which has shown itself to be so effective in creating wealth. Unfortunately, so many people on the left seem to believe that all wealth is stolen and that we're in a zero sum game in which everything is constantly dwindling. I'm not sure how many of them can continue to believe this in the face of the innumerable people (Bill Gates looms large as a very familiar example) who have created something where there was nothing before, or whether they simply assert zero-sum rhetoric as a justification for their jealousy. But the emotional notion of "fairness" really does become a disease. Resentment takes on a life of its own inside the mind, and it activates illogical processes.
The result is "class war" and other diseases of what's called the "collective mind."
I've stopped engaging in wishful thinking along the lines of "if only they realized that socialism does not work," because I don't think they care whether socialism works.
The core issue is resentment. Resentment clouds minds. People whose resentment stems from jealously not only resent those who contribute to the economic life and growth of a society, they defend and promote those who are doing the opposite. They fail to resent those who are actually the most deserving of resentment in any healthy society -- criminals. The latter are defended, excused, and their criminal actions are actually blamed on the people who are helping the economy.
So it's not just a question of resenting people who should not be resented. It is also tied closely to not resenting the people who should be resented.
It is one thing to be irrationally resentful in this way, but the problem comes when the people driven by irrational resentment seek to be in charge. In an earlier post titled "But who are they?," I lamented my inability to come up with a definition, but posed a few questions:
Writing about the "excuse making industry," Robert James Bidinotto identifies a large group of people dedicated to the belief that instead of being resented, criminals should be excused:
the Excuse-Making Industry....consists primarily of intellectuals in the social science establishment: the philosophers, psychological theorists, political scientists, legal scholars, sociologists, criminologists, economists and historians whose theories have shaped our modern legal system. It also consists of an activist wing of fellow-travelers: social workers, counselors, therapists, legal-aid and civilliberties lawyers, "inmate rights" advocates, "progressive" politicians and activists, and so on...I think this also goes a long way towards explaining another pet peeve -- the mindset which blames guns for crimes committed with them by criminals who aren't allowed to have them, and proposes to take them away from law abiding citizens as a "solution." Misplaced and irrational resentment probably lies at the core of gun control, too, because law abiding citizens who are capable of defending themselves with guns exhibit self-sufficiency.
Is it possible that the self-insufficient resent the self-sufficient?
I'm complaining that it is emotional and illogical.
But what if it's natural?
Isn't it a bit of a paradox to argue against natural resentments? Maybe it is, but I still think identifying problems is a good idea.
posted by Eric on 10.24.07 at 10:41 AM
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